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Boat Winterization and Storage

The boating season is slowly winding down, and that means you’ll soon be storing your favorite recreational vehicle. However, before you throw on a boat cover and call it good, consider that a little more boat winterization might extend the longevity of your boat. In addition, it’ll help you get back out on the open water faster come springtime!
The First Steps for Boat Winterization
Start your boat winterization process by removing your boat from water. The exposure to freezing waters, ice, snow, wind, hail, and other winter elements wreak heavy damage on the hull and external features. 
Next, make an assessment of your boat storage options. Being out of water doesn’t automatically protect your boat from all of the winter conditions listed above. The ideal location is in a garage or storage unit that is temperature-controlled. However, it is more likely that you’ll bring your boat into a personal garage.
It’s also recommended as part of standard boat winterization to cover it with some kind of tarp. Or, better yet, you can have your boat professionally shrink-wrapped to keep moisture, debris, etc. away. 

Boat Winterization Checklist
Every boat is slightly different and may have different winter weaknesses or concerns. Look in your owner’s manual for specific boat winterization guidelines or tips in addition to addressing these:

  • Inboard Engine – Change the oil while the engine is warm (after running). Remove and replace the oil filter as well. Then refill the engine and check for leaks. Finally, flush it with non-toxic antifreeze. (You must start the engine to allow the antifreeze to circulate.)
  • Outboard Engine – Gauge fuel level and treat it with the correct amount of stabilizer. Then flush the engine and spray fogging solution into the air intakes. Remove the fuel line from the engine and continue spray until the engine dies. 
  • Stern Drive – Remove barnacles and clean lower unit with soap and water. Look for cracks if your stern drive has a rubber boot.
  • Bilges – Use soap and water to clean any oil spills. Then spray with a moisture-displacing lubricant and add antifreeze to prevent water from freezing.
  • Fresh Water System – Drain all water tanks and water heater. Connect the inbound and outbound lines, pump non-toxic antifreeze into the system with the faucets on, and wait until you see some antifreeze coming out before turning them off.
  • Interior – Remove all valuables, electronics, fire extinguisher, cushions, etc. that are better stored indoors. Clean out all drawers, refrigerator, freezer, etc.

Recreational Insurance
Unfortunately, most recreational insurance that covers your boat doesn’t cover damage due to the effects of winter weather and improper storage. That’s why it’s crucial to prepare for the colder months with proper boat winterization techniques.

Check if you’re covered for accidental or weather damage under your recreational insurance. Or contact an experienced representative from Higgins Insurance to better understand your options for protecting your boat and other assets. Call today at 1-866-273-2911!

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